UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The crowd was jazzed from the time the Penn State football team arrived at Beaver Stadium by bus, and the game had stood out on the schedule since summer. Saturday felt strikingly familiar.
If the Ohio State game Saturday had a counterpart from earlier this year, it was the season opener against Ohio University. Both times, emotion and high stakes ruled the day. And both times, Penn State lost.
Does the added pressure take its toll on the team?
The Ohio game started much like the Ohio State game. Penn State led, 7-0, after the first quarter, as well as 14-3 at half. Tight end Kyle Carter said then that Penn State had let up slightly after halftime.
The setback against Ohio State was nearly the same. Penn State took a 7-0 lead on Mike Hull's blocked punt, the kind of play that generally turns the game in a different direction.
"I felt like we had a ton of momentum and I thought it was going to carry over into halftime," Hull said. "And it didn't work out that way."
Penn State appeared to play as if big-game nerves had set in against Ohio State. In the first half, quarterback Matt McGloin overthrew a pass to wide receiver Allen Robinson that likely would have been a touchdown. His interception that led to a touchdown seemed to have been thrown directly at Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier. The Nittany Lions committed nine penalties for 85 yards, including one inside the 5.
McGloin didn't buy that they had a letdown given the increased stakes. For him, this entire season has been about emotion. Knowing they only had 12 games and now only have four, the level of intensity has not changed for him from game to game, and he doesn't expect it to for the rest of the year.
"There's no bowl game," he said. "There's no conference championship. And as a senior you only have four games left at Penn State. So you have to play every game like it's your last and leave it all out there."
NOTES -- While the Penn State student body relaxed Monday afternoon with all classes canceled on campus, the football team practiced. Coach Bill O'Brien said they held a workout in the indoor Holuba Hall facility. "We've got a big challenge," O'Brien said of Purdue, the Nittany Lions' opponent Saturday in West Layfayette, Ind. "We've got to go back to playing fundamentally sound football. We have to do a great job in practice this week." ... Tight end Kyle Carter walked off the field after the game Saturday with his ankle wrapped. O'Brien said Carter is day to day and that he would know more by the end of the week.
Mark Dent: email@example.com and Twitter: @mdent05.